SIKESTON -- With extra time on their hands, high school and college students are now looking for jobs to fill their days and pocketbooks.
And they're in luck, because several area employers are looking for help to cover vacations or just add some extra hands.
Susie Kennedy, owner of Susie's Bake Shoppe, has three high school and college-aged girls working at her store this summer. Two of them simply increased their hours from the school year.
"I hire them on to fill in for vacations," Kennedy said. "And then there is a lot of catering for weddings and parties."
She said the students take on jobs to earn extra money and buy the items they want and their parents won't buy, for the most part.
Alfred Spears, a youth case manager at the Mers Goodwill office in Sikeston, works with high school students to gain employment. He added another reason students often seek employment.
"I think a lot of high school students just want to get off the street for the summer," Spears said. So far, he has lined up several youth in jobs such as working for day cares and a summer youth project through the Missouri Department of Conservation. He has other crews to assemble throughout the summer.
And John Mobley, senior vice president at Missouri Delta Medical Center, said several students who are in a healthcare-related major will work to earn money and extra experience in fields such as nursing, physical and occupational therapy and pharmacy.
"If they're from our area and in a healthcare-related career, then we're interested and try to find work in as many positions as we can," Mobley said. "We hope to get them all to come back and work full time (after graduation.) It helps and we do get some of them."
MDMC typically hires 10 to 15 extra workers each summer. In addition to those health care fields, hires are made in areas that don't require a degree, such as housekeeping.
A lot of the students who come to his office seeking employment have limited or no work history, Spears said. Because of that, his staff works to prepare youth for work and give them pointers such as being punctual.
A Career Readiness Training is also offered. Spears said the training, which includes lessons on interview skills and resume building, is "pretty popular." The office tries to hold at least one training a month. It lasts one to two weeks and costs $20.
College students also have some help in lining up summer jobs. "We've put several college kids to work already in the past few weeks," said Debbie Glenn, branch manager at Manpower in Sikeston. "They're shorthanded, so they're willing to use some college students. It helps them and helps us too."
Manpower actually contracts with companies to find employees. "They're actually working for us, just at a different location," Glenn said of the employees. A lot of the jobs they fill include industrial work, such as packaging and working assembly lines.
In addition to some requirements such as a background check and drug screening, there are some other requirements for youth, too. Those waitressing and working with people need to be friendly, clean and outgoing, Kennedy said. Mobley added the hospital looked for stability, serious workers, and those who have a strong, involved high school background.
And while the summer employment is always a big help, it can also change the workplace atmosphere. "It's nice having those young girls around here to perk us up," Kennedy said. "They're always a lot of fun."